More and more employers are using Skype interviews and other video interviews during their screening process.
They may use a Skype interview in place of a phone interview, or after the phone interview before bringing you on-site.
And while you’ll face a lot of the same questions as any other interview, there are some important steps you should take to prepare. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to prepare for a Skype interview to make sure you’re ready to impress them.
Preparing for a Skype Interview
1. Test Your Technology
The first thing to do when preparing for a Skype or video interview is make sure you’re comfortable and ready to use your technology (computer, mic, webcam, etc.)
It’s not going to go over well if you hop on a Skype call and the interviewer can’t hear you because your mic is muted.
So make sure to test everything out before your Skype or video interview to make sure you’re comfortable with the technology and the settings are correct. You can do a “test run” with a friend or family member to be sure. If there are any technical issues, you want to know that before the interview.
Other things to consider from the technical perspective when preparing for a Skype interview:
- Camera Position: Position your computer in such a way that you can look directly into the webcam — because you don’t want to be looking up or looking down during the interview.
- Surroundings: Remember your surroundings. When you’re being interviewed, you don’t want the interviewee to see clutter or other people walking about. You need to be the star of the interview; don’t allow yourself or your interviewer to become distracted.
- Lighting: Position a light right behind your laptop or tablet. This will illuminate your face. Because the light could make your face appear shiny, however, you should think about applying a bit of powder to cut down on any unwanted glare.
2. Print the Job Description and Your Resume
This next step in how to prepare for a Skype interview is something most job seekers skip, but it’s a vital part of preparing.
Print out a hard copy of your resume, along with the job posting or description. This is something I recommend for phone interviews as well as video interviews.
That way, you can refer to the job description when answering interview questions. For example, if they ask, “why are you applying for this position?” you’ll be ready to name a few things that caught your interest on the job description.
Other common Skype/video interview questions where having the job description in front of you would be helpful:
And here’s a question where having your own resume in front of you will be helpful in an interview:
If you want more questions to practice, here are 8 of the most common video interview questions and answers.
3. Choose a Location that’s Distraction-Free
The last thing you want during your Skype interview or video interview is to have a family member or pet come running across the screen.
So find a quiet, distraction-free room where you can shut the door and have relative silence and nothing moving in the background.
If you are conducting this from home where family members will be present, consider hanging a “do not disturb” sign or at least warning all to stay clear of you during the Skype call!
Be sure to silence notifications on your devices so your conversation does not get interrupted by beeps and pings, too.
4. Choose Your Wardrobe Wisely
Dress from top to bottom as you would for an in-person interview. Sweatpants with a shirt and tie won’t cut it.
Even though it is likely the person at the other end will only see your top half, it’s better to be ready for the unexpected when preparing for a Skype interview, and you may feel more prepared when you look the part.
Additionally, it’s wise to keep your clothing color choice in mind. I recommend avoiding white and black wardrobe choices as they don’t always look as great on camera (this is why news anchors tend to wear colors like blue, grey, charcoal, etc.)
5. Research the Company
Before the interview, research the company and make sure you know how large they are (100 employees? 10,000 employees?), what they sell or how they make money, when they were founded, who their competitors are, etc.
This may seem like a lot but it should only take 10-15 minutes on the company website and can make a huge difference in the quality of answers you give and your confidence level in the interview.
If you follow the advice above before your next Skype or video interview, you’ll be more prepared and have a much greater chance of success.
6. Practice Your Body Language
Be aware of your body language when you’re doing your Skype or video interview. Previous research by Albert Mehrabian shows that body language counts for a lot during communication.
Specifically, he finds that 55% of communication is done through body language, 35% is done through tone, and 7% is done through words. So while what you say is important, how you say it and your body language count just as much. Here are some body language tips to follow:
- Avoid crossing your arms during the interview since this can be taken to mean that you’re nervous or defensive and unreceptive to what the interviewer is saying.
- Make eye contact to show you are paying attention — and nod as appropriate. But don’t do either of these things too much as they could be distracting.
- Avoid fidgeting since this can make it look like you’re not paying attention or are overly nervous.
- Smile. You’re more likely to make a good impression if you smile than if you don’t. Smiling also helps you talk with more energy.
- Sit forward in your chair since it will make it look like you’re paying attention and are interested. By the way, slouching can convey that you’re bored or disinterested — so avoid it.
7. Know Who You’ll Be Speaking With
You’re going to be a lot more confident in your video interview or Skype interview if you know some general info about the person who’s going to be calling you.
So find out their name (ask the person who scheduled your interview if you don’t already know), and look them up on LinkedIn.
Are they an HR person? Or do they have more of a technical background? This can give you clues about the type of questions you can expect. For example, a Software Development Manager is going to be able to grill you a lot more on the technical details than an HR Director.
Make sure you’re doing this research when preparing for a Skype interview. You’ll be more confident on the video call and better prepared for their questions.
8. Practice Delivering Your Answers
In the lead-up to your Skype or video interview, you’ll want to get as much practice as you can. Find a friend or acquaintance and conduct a mock interview.
Practice your composure, body posture, tone, delivery, and other things that can help your cause. As well as practicing with other people, you should also practice on your own so that you can work on your delivery and confidence.
9. Manage your Time
Skype and video interviews are usually shorter than in-person interviews — however, depending on the interviewer, can take as little as 15 minutes and as long as an hour. My recommendation? Ask how much time to allot and add 15 minutes to your schedule – just in case.
You don’t want to be planning on sharing some important highlights of your background at the end of the conversation only to find time runs out.
So as part of preparing for your Skype interview, write yourself a note or find some way to remind yourself to ask how much time is allotted for the video call.
You could also email the employer (write to whoever scheduled this interview for you) and ask how long it’s scheduled for. They should be able to tell you.
Of course, your Skype interview can go a bit longer or shorter than planned. But by asking how long the Skype interview is scheduled for, you’ll at least know the target amount of time.
More Resources for How to Prepare for Your Skype/Video Interview:
If you follow the advice above when preparing for your Skype or video interview, you’ll be more confident and have a much greater chance of success.
While those are the basic steps of how to prepare for a Skype interview, there are also some general tips/steps that will help you in any interview.
So if you want more help, these three articles will help you even more: